TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office is participating in the first coordinated federal-state civil enforcement crackdown involving student loan debt relief scams. These scams unlawfully took a combined total of more than $95 million in upfront fees from students nationwide. The crackdown involves a total of 36 state or federal actions against student debt relief companies, with Attorney General Bondi’s Office filing two of these lawsuits, as well as a third action to compel compliance with an investigative subpoena. The Attorney General’s Office also reached a settlement with a student loan debt relief company in a fourth matter that ensures the company will no longer operate in Florida.
The two lawsuits allege that certain companies misled consumers into believing they would be enrolled in loan forgiveness or other relief programs through false promises. Instead of helping, the companies allegedly took hundreds or thousands of dollars from these consumers who could have used the money to pay their student loans. One complaint is against Strategic Student Solutions, LLC and its owner Dave Green in Palm Beach County, and the other is jointly filed with the Federal Trade Commission against Student Aid Center Inc., and owners Damien Alvarez and Ramino Fernandez-Moris in Miami. For more information about the complaint against Strategic Student Solutions, click here. For more information about the joint action with the FTC, click here.
The Attorney General’s Office also filed an action against Wesley Chapel-based The Student Loan Help Center for failure to comply with an investigative subpoena. This subpoena relates to the company’s alleged misrepresentations of the amount of student loan reductions available and the company’s failure to provide the student loan debt relief services promised. To view this filed action, click here.
Lastly, the Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with Boynton Beach-based Debt Relief Pros, Inc. d/b/a Student Debt Relief, and its owner, Christopher Wordell. This settlement resolves allegations that the company charged a fee for services otherwise free through the Federal Direct Loan Program, misrepresented the company’s ability to lower monthly student loan payments and failed to perform the services for which consumers paid advance fees. The settlement permanently enjoins the company and its owner from operating in Florida or involving Florida businesses or residents in any manner related to student loan debt relief services. To view a copy of the settlement, click here.
In addition to these four actions, the Federal Trade Commission and 10 other attorneys general filed or settled 32 other actions as part of this initiative. For more information about the nationwide crackdown, click here.